Tag Archives: Integration

Navigating complexity and contradiction: an interview with a Gambian businessman in Istanbul

By Helen Mackreath

Jahara Import-Export business is located in a Beyazit warehouse composed of roughly one hundred businesses, of which around ten are run by, or employ majority of, African workers from Senegal and Gambia. It is owned by Mehmud Kebbeh, a Gambian man who identifies as a migrant and a business-man.

I first met Mehmud as an interlocutor for a separate research project. As a British researcher our initial conversation encompassed discussions of some of his time spent in London and the relationship between our two countries, including the legacies of colonialism, as well as respective feelings about our “foreigner” status in Turkey. I spoke to him further to understand more about the warehouse as a space of transit, of multiple criss-crossing identities across nationality, class, gender, religion. Our conversation indicated multiple ways in which he navigates the overlaps between his business, religious and national identities; the importance of his import-export space as a social setting where migrants shed restrictive identifiers and share commonalities; and the multiple areas of hierarchy, exchange and isolation within the Gambian and Senegalese communities. Continue reading Navigating complexity and contradiction: an interview with a Gambian businessman in Istanbul

Ministry of National Education has failed the class

Via Birgün (link in Turkish) – The EU who said to give 3 billion Euro to Turkey in the frame of the EU-Turkey day for refugees, has recently paid its 2.9 billion. 1.6 billion Euro of this amount were allocated for education, health, municipality infrastructure, socioeconomic programs and migration governance. 300 million Euro were given to the Ministry of National Education and another 300 million Euro of its was given to Ministry of Health. UNICEF claims that although a large amount of money was allocated for education, 390 billion school-age refugees are still not provided with educational opportunities. 2

Turkey’s Growing Refugee Challenge – Rising Social Tensions

Continue reading Turkey’s Growing Refugee Challenge – Rising Social Tensions

EU-funded health center for migrants opens in Ankara

Via Daily Sabah – A European Union-funded migrant health center has opened in the Turkish capital Ankara, the bloc’s Turkey delegation announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the delegation said that the EU-funded center “opened today to provide health services to refugees in the Altındağ district, where the refugee population density is the highest in Ankara.” Continue reading EU-funded health center for migrants opens in Ankara

Vatandaşlık ve linç arasında – Between citizenship and lynching

The German-Turkish newspaper taz gazete on the public discourse on Syrian refugees in Turkey:

“The initial welcoming culture has long since been replaced by resentments and hate speech. The option of naturalization fuels the discussion on Syrian refugees.

In last week of July, the Turkish parliament received a draft law on the naturalization of migrants, of which especially Syrian refugees would profit. At the same time, hate towards refugees is growing in the Turkish society. In daily life, they are being racially haressed and instrumentalized by politicians according to their political agenda. In re-occuring situations of conflict with the EU, Erdoğan, who normally stages himself as the saviour of the ‘muslim brothers and sisters’, threatens to put all refugees in busses towards Europe.”

Continue reading the whole article in Turkish or German!

The AfroTurks who lost their language

IBW21.org published an insightful reportage about AfroTurks in Turkey:

“While Turkey is home to many ethnic and religious minorities, members of the Afro-Turk community attract immediate attention in big cities, particularly in the wake of the recent refugee crisis, when they have often been mistaken for Eritrean or Somalian refugees trying to get to Europe.

Although some estimates put the number of Afro Turks as high as 100,000, the community remains relatively unknown, especially outside of the Aegean area where many slave families were sent to work on the cotton fields near the port of old Smyrna (modern day Izmir) in the 18th Century, and where many were relocated in the last few decades of the Ottoman Empire.”

Continue reading the reportage here

Report on “Syrian Refugee Labor” by Turkish Metalworkers’ Union

Via Hurriyet  DailyNews –  At a time when the number of racist attacks targeting Syrian refugees in Turkey is on the rise, the United Metalworkers’ Union (Birleşik Metal İş Sendikası) issued a report called “Syrian Refugee Labor.” We have thus seen once again how most of the three million Syrian refugees are living under difficult conditions here.

Eight academics from various universities drafted the report. Face to face interviews were conducted with both Turkish and Syrian workers in the textile sector. The result is striking but not unexpected, because we knew that Syrian workers were unregistered and highly underpaid.

The report said 99.6 percent of male Syrian workers and 100 percent of female Syrian workers were unregistered. As an example of the pay gap between Syrian and Turkish workers, the average pay of Syrian women workers corresponds to only half of the average Turkish male worker’s pay.  Continue reading →